Bringing down the government through a haze of hash smoke…

The GNN (Guerilla News Network) site is always a really great source of unorthodox news views and I read it regularly. There is one thing that was posted there however, that never really impressed me and that is Dave Palmer’s ‘How To Overthrow The Government‘. It was ‘removed’ at the request of the webmasters and so appears quite subversive. It really strikes me as the most jumbled thought of an archetypal pot-head, bedroom anarchist. To be fair I don’t even know Dave Palmer and the fact that I am derivitively writing about him rather than the other way around makes him one-up.

My major gripe with his mini-treatise is that it doesn’t have very much to do with breaking capitalism, just “the government”, and using some extremely odd and contradictory means such as: ‘not accepting any social services because it is funded by “stolen money”. Surely that is tax money stolen from the populace, so why leave it go to some corporation as a subsidy? That reflects the curious American obsession that ‘tax’ is theft, any tax, from anyone, for anything.

Then there is the sabotage of police cars using cola. I thought this might be a bit of sarky comedy, but if it really is in earnest, it’s hardly likely to bubble up like paint stripper, even if the liquid manages to stay on any part of the car for more than 5 seconds. Perhaps the following dastardly tactic of “making love” on the police car may manage to generate enough heat to melt the paint and do some more lasting damage.

One sentence implores you to ‘quit your government position’, and to make your partner choose between you and a government job. The next sentence quickly revises this and encourages you to actually use your government job for sabotage. This also probably helps with the following tactic:

“Borrow” things from your boss and distribute them to your friends for free. This is especially helpful if you work for the government. Make love at work.”

Making love all over the place is the chief rebellious tactic running through the work

There is a suggestion that you should make moonshine and obtain duty-free tobacco from ‘Indian nations’ instead of buying products taxed by the government. Hell! You can even grow some pot! Why not carry on the tradition that radical politics is the preserve of drunken, tobacco addicted, pot smokers?

This is capped off by simply “not working”. In Dave’s words:

Don’t work, or get the lowest paying job you can survive on. That way you’re paying less income tax. Or, if you like what you’re doing, keep on doing, just quit paying income tax. (Like Willie Nelson). The only problem with this is that you have to keep your head down if you want to stay out of jail“.

Of course the death of the state and corporations evidently leads to the life of a beach bum-cum-amateur horticulturalist, doesn’t it? Well, I’m not so sure about that, despite what the primitives would like me to believe. I’m not yet convinced that elves will do my chores whilst I lie in bed buzzing from smoking my latest chunk of brown.

There’s something facile in this treatise, like the people who play soldier games during the weekends and then go home for tea and biscuits and fluffy quilts in front of the telly. Do I really need to be told how to throw rocks through windows? Is there a plan after all the marbles of society have come crashing down? Or is it the kind of dreamy fantasy best conjured up from an Amsterdam coffee shop somewhere in the great days of the early 1970s?

I hope Dave Palmer isn’t too insulted. I’ve had a petrol bomb thrown at my front door before now and really it wasn’t that pleasant….


3 thoughts on “Bringing down the government through a haze of hash smoke…

  1. I dug it, you can’t read to much into it. All of the ideas would help the writers anarchist cause, and it was poetic I thought it read beautifully

  2. I wrote that piece in 1992 or 1993, when I was 13 or 14 years old. I agree mostly with your criticism of it; it’s not exactly something I would uphold today. Unfortunately, on the Internet, nothing every really dies.

    The piece reflects the viewpoint of an adolescent with embarassingly little knowledge or experience of the real world, which explains the lack of any attempt at internal consistency or sense of reality. On the plus side, the piece is incredibly non-dogmatic — voting for third parties is upheld alongside electoral abstentionism, right-libertarian tropes coexist cheerfully alongside vaguely left ones, etc.

    The underlying conviction seems to be that withdrawal of support from the state (often in irrelevant or symbolic ways), along with rampant and silly acts of adolescent rebellion, will ultimately make society ungovernable, leading the way to… something better, presumably. The fact that anyone over the age of 13 would find this piece compelling enough to re-post is somewhat surprising, but unfortunately, someone apparently does, since it is still available on multiple sites.

    Fortunately, in the 20 years since writing this embarassing piece, I’ve had the chance to mature politically, and even get involved in some meaningful activism. I no longer self-identify as an anarchist, but I continue to believe in the ultimate goal of a society free from all forms of exploitation. However, I’d like to think that I have a more sophisticated idea of what that means and how to get there than I did as a 13-year-old.

  3. I’m glad that you commented (if you are the Dave Palmer in question) because everyone’s politcal thought matures and you deserve the right to put things into perspective.

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